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Lima, Peru

News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

Researchers created a special lighting that can illuminate fishing nets. The add-on can help sea turtles avoid capture and lower the instance of fishermen accidentally catching them. The team from the University of Exeter believed that the green light emitting diodes (LEDs) can help sea turtles spot the mesh netting and avoid it without disturbing the fish. They tested their prototype off the Peru coast in a controlled experiment. The fishing nets not fitted with LEDs had 125 green turtles caught in the netting while the lit one only had 62. The numbers of guitarfish caught by the two nets were not affected by the illuminating add-ons. Each LED light cost about £1.40 ($2). With the illuminating fishing net, the research demonstrated that saving one turtle cost only £24 ($34). This amount can still be reduced if the technology will be used on a much larger scale. "This is very exciting because it is an example of something that can work in a small-scale fishery which for a number of reasons can be very difficult to work with," said Darwin Initiative research fellow Jeffrey Mangel. Mangel added that the sea turtle's eastern Pacific populations are one of the most vulnerable in the world. Lowering the sea turtle's bycatch could help in managing and recovering its population in the region. When the turtles get caught in the fishing nets or lines, it prevents them from reaching the surface for air and end up drowning. According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, more than 250,000 sea turtles are captured, injured or killed accidentally by fishermen in the U.S. The baits often attract the sea turtles that they end up getting caught on the hooks used in catching fish. "Bycatch is a complex, global issue that threatens the sustainability and resilience of our fishing communities, economies and ocean ecosystems," said assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries, Eileen Sobeck. The experiment was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series journal and conducted in northern Peru's Sechura Bay. The study was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Lima-based not-for-profit organization ProDelphinus and the Darwin Initiative by the UK Government.


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

Dr Jeffrey Mangel, a Darwin Initiative research fellow based in Peru, and Professor Brendan Godley, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University's Penryn Campus, were part of a team of researchers who found that attaching green battery powered light-emitting diodes (LED) to gillnets used by a small-scale fishery reduced the number of green turtle deaths by 64 per cent, without reducing the intended catch of fish. The innovative study, carried out in Sechura Bay in northern Peru was supported by ProDelphinus, the UK Government's Darwin Initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. It is the first time that lighting technology has been trialled in a working fishery. At a cost of £1.40 ($2) for each LED light, the research showed that the cost of saving one turtle was £24 ($34)—a sum which would be reduced if the method was rolled out at larger scale. Multiple populations of sea turtle species use Peruvian coastal waters as foraging grounds including green, olive ridley and hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback. Peru's gillnet fleet comprises the largest component of the nation's small-scale fleet and is conservatively estimated to set 100,000 km of net per year in which thousands of turtles will die as 'bycatch' or unintentionally. The researchers used 114 pairs of nets, each typically around 500-metres in length. In each pair, one was illuminated with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed every ten metres along the gillnet floatline. The other net in the pair was the control and not illuminated. The control nets caught 125 green turtles while illuminated nets caught 62. The target catch of guitarfish was unaffected by the net illumination. They are now working with larger fisheries in Peru and with different coloured lights to see if the results can be repeated and applied with more critically endangered species. "This is very exciting because it is an example of something that can work in a small-scale fishery which for a number of reasons can be very difficult to work with. These lights are also one of very few options available for reducing turtle bycatch in nets," said Dr Mangel, who is one of the lead authors on the paper and ProDelphinus Research Co-ordinator. "The turtle populations in the eastern Pacific are among the world's most vulnerable and we are hoping that by reducing bycatch, particularly in gillnets, will help with the management and eventual recovery of these populations." Thousands of endangered turtles die as bycatch in gillnet fisheries around the world and it is hoped that this study will help to provide a solution. Professor Brendan Godley notes, "It is exciting to be part of research that is highlighting innovative methods that may assist the move towards sustainability in these fisheries. Understanding costings will help emphasize the need for institutional support from national ministries, international non-governmental organizations and the broader fisheries industry to make possible widespread implementation of net illumination as a sea turtle bycatch reduction strategy." "Bycatch is a complex, global issue that threatens the sustainability and resilience of our fishing communities, economies and ocean ecosystems," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "Funding research like this is key to NOAA's efforts to reduce bycatch. Through this work, we can better protect our natural resources." More information: N Ortiz et al. Reducing green turtle bycatch in small-scale fisheries using illuminated gillnets: the cost of saving a sea turtle, Marine Ecology Progress Series (2016). DOI: 10.3354/meps11610


Pfaller J.B.,University of Florida | Pfaller J.B.,Caretta Research Project | Alfaro-Shigueto J.,ProDelphinus | Alfaro-Shigueto J.,University of Exeter | And 7 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2014

Studies that incorporate information from habitat-specific ecological interactions (e.g., epibiotic associations) can reveal valuable insights into the cryptic habitat-use patterns and behavior of marine vertebrates. Sea turtles, like other large, highly mobile marine vertebrates, are inherently difficult to study, and such information can inform the implementation of conservation measures. The presence of epipelagic epibionts, such as the flotsam crab Planes major, on sea turtles strongly suggests that neritic turtles have recently occupied epipelagic habitats (upper 200 m in areas with >200 m depth) and that epipelagic turtles spend time at or near the surface. We quantified the effects of turtle species, turtle size, and habitat (neritic or epipelagic) on the frequency of epibiosis (F 0) by P. major on sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean. In neritic habitats, we found that loggerhead (F 0 = 27.6 %) and olive ridley turtles (F 0 = 26.2 %) host crabs frequently across a wide range of body sizes, and green turtles almost never host crabs (F 0 = 0.7 %). These results suggest that loggerheads and olive ridleys display variable/flexible epipelagic-neritic transitions, while green turtles tend to transition unidirectionally at small body sizes. In epipelagic habitats, we found that loggerheads host crabs (F 0 = 92.9 %) more frequently than olive ridleys (F 0 = 50 %) and green turtles (F 0 = 38.5 %). These results suggest that epipelagic loggerheads tend to spend more time at or near the surface than epipelagic olive ridleys and green turtles. Results of this study reveal new insights into habitat-use patterns and behavior of sea turtles and display how epibiont data can supplement data from more advanced technologies to gain a better understanding of the ecology of marine vertebrates during cryptic life stages. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


News Article
Site: http://www.rdmag.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

Illuminating fishing nets is a cost-effective means of dramatically reducing the number of sea turtles getting caught and dying unnecessarily, conservation biologists at the University of Exeter have found. Dr Jeffrey Mangel, a Darwin Initiative research fellow based in Peru, and Professor Brendan Godley, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University's Penryn Campus, were part of a team of researchers who found that attaching green battery powered light-emitting diodes (LED) to gillnets used by a small-scale fishery reduced the number of green turtle deaths by 64 per cent, without reducing the intended catch of fish. The innovative study, carried out in Sechura Bay in northern Peru was supported by ProDelphinus, the UK Government's Darwin Initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. It is the first time that lighting technology has been trialled in a working fishery. At a cost of £1.40 ($2) for each LED light, the research showed that the cost of saving one turtle was £24 ($34) -- a sum which would be reduced if the method was rolled out at larger scale. Multiple populations of sea turtle species use Peruvian coastal waters as foraging grounds including green, olive ridley and hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback. Peru's gillnet fleet comprises the largest component of the nation's small-scale fleet and is conservatively estimated to set 100,000 km of net per year in which thousands of turtles will die as 'bycatch' or unintentionally. The researchers used 114 pairs of nets, each typically around 500-metres in length. In each pair, one was illuminated with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed every ten metres along the gillnet floatline. The other net in the pair was the control and not illuminated. The control nets caught 125 green turtles while illuminated nets caught 62. The target catch of guitarfish was unaffected by the net illumination. They are now working with larger fisheries in Peru and with different coloured lights to see if the results can be repeated and applied with more critically endangered species. "This is very exciting because it is an example of something that can work in a small-scale fishery which for a number of reasons can be very difficult to work with. These lights are also one of very few options available for reducing turtle bycatch in nets," said Dr Mangel, who is one of the lead authors on the paper and ProDelphinus Research Co-ordinator. "The turtle populations in the eastern Pacific are among the world's most vulnerable and we are hoping that by reducing bycatch, particularly in gillnets, will help with the management and eventual recovery of these populations." Thousands of endangered turtles die as bycatch in gillnet fisheries around the world and it is hoped that this study will help to provide a solution. Professor Brendan Godley notes, "It is exciting to be part of research that is highlighting innovative methods that may assist the move towards sustainability in these fisheries. Understanding costings will help emphasize the need for institutional support from national ministries, international non-governmental organizations and the broader fisheries industry to make possible widespread implementation of net illumination as a sea turtle bycatch reduction strategy." "Bycatch is a complex, global issue that threatens the sustainability and resilience of our fishing communities, economies and ocean ecosystems," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "Funding research like this is key to NOAA's efforts to reduce bycatch. Through this work, we can better protect our natural resources."


Ortiz N.,ProDelphinus | Mangel J.C.,ProDelphinus | Mangel J.C.,University of Exeter | Wang J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 10 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2016

Gillnet fisheries exist throughout the oceans and have been implicated in high by-catch rates of sea turtles. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of illuminating nets with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed on floatlines in order to reduce sea turtle bycatch in a smallscale bottom-set gillnet fishery. In Sechura Bay, northern Peru, 114 pairs of control and illuminated nets were deployed. The predicted mean catch per unit effort (CPUE) of target species, standardized for environmental variables using generalized additive model (GAM) analysis, was similar for both control and illuminated nets. In contrast, the predicted mean CPUE of green turtles Chelonia mydas was reduced by 63.9% in illuminated nets. A total of 125 green turtles were caught in control nets, while 62 were caught in illuminated nets. This statistically significant re duction (GAM analysis, p < 0.05) in sea turtle bycatch suggests that net illumination could be an effective conservation tool. Challenges to implementing the use of LEDs include equipment costs, increased net handling times, and limited awareness among fishermen regarding the effectiveness of this technology. Cost estimates for preventing a single sea turtle catch are as low as 34 USD, while the costs to outfit the entire gillnet fishery in Sechura Bay can be as low as 9200 USD. Understanding these cost challenges emphasizes the need for institutional support from national ministries, inter-national non-governmental organizations and the broader fisheries industry to make possible widespread implementation of net illumination as a sea turtle bycatch reduction strategy. © The authors 2016. Source

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